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Gators top Miami in preseason poll

By Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 1, 2001

Florida edged Miami for the top spot in the Football Writers Association of America preseason Top 25.

The Gators received six of 17 first-place votes and 398 total points, while Miami, which beat the Gators in the Sugar Bowl, received four first-place votes and 379 votes. Defending national champion Oklahoma is third. Florida State, one of eight teams to receive a first-place vote, is seventh.

GEORGIA: Sean Jones, the backup free safety in Georgia's secondary entering fall practice, will be out 4-6 weeks after breaking a bone in his left foot.

Coach Mark Richt said Jones broke the fourth metatarsal in his left foot during a fall at the Butts-Mehre Athletic Building. The fall was not related to conditioning work.

JACKSONVILLE STATE: Ashley Martin, a 5-foot-11 midfielder for the Gamecocks, will replace a soccer ball with a football, likely becoming the first woman to compete on the Division I-AA level.

"I'm not really looking at it like I'm a girl and I'm going to go out and do this (to prove something)," Martin said.

"That's not my outlook at all. It will never be. I'm thinking that Coach (Jack) Crowe asked me to kick, so I'm going to go out and practice every day so I can do that. I'm more nervous about when I do this, that I don't let these guys down."

Crowe needed a kicker and his blue-chip transfer from Tennessee, Steven Lee, was great at a distance but had trouble kicking extra points.

One day while watching the soccer team practice, Crowe saw Martin launch the pigskin through the uprights with precision and power.

"She's a player, she's a competitor," Crowe said. "She's got a strong leg."

Crowe said he'll use Martin only in extra-point situations.

Martin's main sport still will be soccer.

Coach Lisa Howe agreed to let Martin kick for the football team, as long as the schedules don't conflict.

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